1. The Aging Bro
As today’s modern Miss languishes at her unfulfilling office job, she is likely to encounter an Aging Bro in the form of a Director of Marketing or an Agency Account Executive. Given your brains, spunk, and the charming way you blush under pressure, the Aging Bro will frequently attempt to take advantage of you, be it personally, professionally, or artistically. He may try to wheedle you into finishing his screenplay. He may lure you into his office with false promises of promotion. He may swear that he can get you into the club his “buddy” owns, despite the fact that you are under 21. When he tries to manipulate you with high-gloss business cards and expensed arugula salads, smile in sympathy at his existentially barren existence and walk politely out of his office and into your next job.
2. The Overly Seductive Neo-Housewife
Though we dwell in an era of modern conveniences such as toaster ovens and iPads, a proper young lady may occasionally encounter the Overly Seductive Neo-Housewife: an attractive, buxom nemesis who’s not above using her feminine wiles to lure your man away. She may bake him bourbon-infused cupcakes. She may wash her kitchen floor on hands and knees, humming an alluring tune. She may own several low-cut aprons. If her culinary prowess threatens to shake your decorous confidence, merely point to your well-stocked bookshelves and ask her to borrow a feather duster. The pen is always mightier than the bundt pan.
3. The Bitter Elder Relative
When an au courant young lady chooses a life of art and intellect over a life of drudgery and soulless ladder-climbing, she may rouse the interest of the Bitter Elder Relative during holidays and other family affairs. Lamentably, the Bitter Elder Relative never found the courage to pursue his own creative dreams, and disguises his unhappiness by scoffing at your tenuous artistic future. “What’s the net worth of a poem?” he may sneer. A terse dedication to the Bitter Elder Relative in your first novel–To Uncle Gregor, who taught me perseverance–should silence him forever.
4. The Lecherous Barista
Sometimes he foams your cappuccino just right, and you embark on a life of cortados and croissants together. But sometimes he leers at you over the lukewarm percolator and tries to charm you by drawing comics on your to-go cup. At first it’s all so French, but ladies, you are under no obligation to be flattered by his coffee-stained intentions. An unwanted advance is an unwanted advance. Hint gently that your future lies elsewhere by tipping your scalding macchiato onto his toes.
5. The Craiglist Sociopath Who Wants to Kill and Eat You
These are trying times, ladies, and even the most comely peeress may occasionally finding herself surfing the Craiglist “gigs” section, hoping to make an extra dollar or two to support her no-chip manicure habit. As she ignores uncouth calls for “seXxY laTinO or whiTE gUrlZ 18-21,” she may perk up at the sight of innocent-seeming ads that ask for a “talented young writer to beautify my novella” or “well-mannered housekeeper to dust my antique dictionary collection.” Ladies, beware! Do not click on the anonymized Craigslist email address. Do not attach your resume and the required “recent full-body shot” that displays your lusciously full cheeks to mouth-watering advantage. Close your browser window, take a calming moment to water a houseplant, and remember that you feature prominently in Aunt Cynthia’s will.
6. The Fauxrtiste
Her jeans are paint-stained, her hair is tousled, and she insists loudly that she’s “not a dress-up kind of girl.” It’s only natural for a proper young woman to feel threatened by those whose bohemian ways and shrieking denouncement of the Establishment seem to hint at a rich inner life. Ladies! Remember the Bronte sisters, who lived out their narrow lives under the watchful eye of their father, drinking water contaminated by graveyard runoff. Remember Emily Dickinson and her white cotton dresses and her habit of speaking in a low voice from the other side of the door. Remember that the young ladies who change the world are often in the corner, watching everything with lavender-rimmed eyes. The Fauxrtiste may garner fleeting attention as she spins beneath the disco ball, tossing around the words “meta” and “aesthetic” like so many ironic paperback novels, but she is no threat to the mind that simmers inside your small, well-coiffed head.